The prolonged Doha round found the World Trade Organization (WTO) at a deadlock. And it is not absolutely clear if the new head of the WTO Roberto Azavedo will manage to prevent the disaster of the trade collapse, aggravating in the world, by signing the so called “simplified Doha agreement”.
If we refer to the Russian language we will see that there is a word “doha” in it. It does not mean a city located on the coast of the Persian Gulf but a long fur coat. On the assumption of this wordplay, it is possible to come to the Andersen metaphor about the king with no clothes. Only this king, wrapped in a doha, behaves not like a relaxed nudist but like a most real exhibitionist – demonstrating the absence of attire under the swanky fur coats.
Russia’s trade war against the near abroad and vice versa – is a powerful proof of the WTO’s inability to regulate disagreements and conflicts between public entities. There are many reasons for that: a battle between developed countries and multinational corporations (let us remember the talks at the G 20 Petersburg Summit that it is high time to tell global monsters where to get off) and personal aspirations of the countries promoting their commercial and industrial interests (and European Union here is rather a proof of that with its protectionism in the agricultural sphere) and many others.
Perhaps, exactly due to the WTO’s inability, Ukraine ignored the recommendation of the European Commissioner for Trade Karel De Gucht to apply to the WTO with the purpose of regulating the conflict with the Russian Federation. What is the use applying to the body which, alas, does not influence anything at all? It is a total waste of time and efforts, especially when Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, without a trace of embarrassment, calls the WTO requirements a mere “wish list”.
It is interesting that the EU also reproaches Ukraine with lobbyism and the WTO rules violation in spite of the fact, as was mentioned above, it has broken the WTO rules in many cases itself. However, which is also nice, the EU itself has never filed a complained with the WTO about Ukraine so far – for the increase of the car import duty and the duties for other product groups.
As Deutsche Welle wrote, the press service of the European Commissioner for Trade assured that consultations are going on with the Ukrainian side to lift the protecting measures, which, against the background of the complete WTO inertia, looks like the total ignoring of the once influential organization, a member of which all powerful players of the world market sought to become.
Nevertheless, in case of the signing of the Association Agreement and the Free Trade Zone between Ukraine and the European Union a number of questions will be most likely solved in the working order – close partners still have more opportunities to reach an agreement on the mutually beneficial grounds rather than to argue in the international organizations.
Alas, so far it does not concern the conflicts of Ukraine and Russia, in this situation the only hope is for the common sense and the bilateral benefit. The main thing is to find the points of the common interest and strengthen them without paying great attention to contradictions or, speaking the language of stock traders, flat trends.
And the WTO is left with the role of a king without devoted vassals in this situation; the king wrapping himself in the long fur coat which hides the embarrassing nudity.
The WTO leadership should sign the simplified version of the Doha round in December despite their inability or unwillingness to do so in order to dress this nudity. Then perhaps, the WTO will retrieve not only its royal status but also that of a significant international arbiter and regulator. Otherwise, the World Trade Organization will remain an inefficient embellishment of the world economy – an atavism of the early era of globalization.